Bud Ryan is a documentary filmmaker who is deeply concerned that the world has forgotten about the fight against nuclear weapons. As part of his effort to remind people that there is still a need for activism in support of disarmament, he produced a film titled The Forgotten Bomb.
In it, he interviews a number of people who have been personally affected by nuclear weapons – the hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) in Japan, downwinders affected by testing programs, politicians concerned about international nonproliferation efforts, and activists who have invested their careers in efforts to force reductions in the numbers of weapons. On those topics, Bud and I came to a rough agreement, even though I am a former “boomer sailor.”
Unfortunately, like many people who become antinuclear activists because they are opposed to nuclear weapons, Bud has also been convinced that peaceful use of nuclear energy should also be avoided. He makes the false statement in his film that nuclear reactors have never turned a profit and he even interviews a few people who seem to believe that the only reason that we have developed nuclear medicine is because the government wanted to find something beneficial to do with nuclear materials.
On that topic, Bud and I strongly disagreed, but the conversation was interesting. Bud agreed that he would keep reading and learning and might even be willing to read some of the materials that I plan to send him about the real health effects of low level radiation and about the value of nuclear energy to enable people to live abundant lives.
(On that last one, I have a real challenge – Bud lives in a remote area of sun drenched New Mexico – 3 miles from the nearest phone line. He and his wife are quite comfortable living in a solar powered home that has a bank of deep-cycle lead acid storage batteries that they can make last for 4-5 days. They dislike air conditioning. I would bet that they never go water skiing or out for a Sunday drive – just for fun.)
The Forgotten Bomb is available on DVD. Even if you favor the use of nuclear energy, it is worth watching – if only to understand the arguments and emotions that you will face as an atomic advocate.